Monday, March 13, 2017

803 Million USD Unaccounted For?

The website Refugees Deeply published an article titled: "Refugee Talks: Lessons From the Refugee Response in Greece". The bottom line is that Greece received 803 MUSD in 2015-16 as humanitarian support for handling the refugee crisis, an amount which the authors call "the most expensive humanitarian response in history". That's the good news.

The bad news is that a senior EU official, whose name is wisely not revealed, estimates that about 70% of that amount has been wasted.

People who are accustomed to dealing with numbers can only be flabbergasted at this revelation. When 803 MUSD flow to Greece, there are those who send the money and those who receive it. One would expect that the senders would keep some sort of records about who they sent the money to. One would further suspect that the senders would periodically ask the recipients what they did with the money. In fact, it would only be reasonable for the senders to require the recipients to maintain some form of bookkeeping.

For 654 MUSD out of the total 803 MUSD, the sender was the EU itself. Everything the EU can send is ultimately tax payers' money. If the EU could not provide a reckoning as to what happened to that tax payers' money, it would reflect a high degree of irresponsibility.

The remaining 149 MUSD came from other sources. To the extent that those other sources were not ultimately tax payers' money (some were undoubtedly donations), an accounting of those funds is not necessarily mandatory as long as those other sources comply with the rules and regulations which they are subject to.

Regarding the recipients, only 184 MUSD went directly to the Greek government. One could reasonably expect that the Greek government can report EXACTLY what that money was spent on. According to the authors, that has not been done as yet.

The much larger portion of the 803 MEUR, namely 619 MUSD went through multiple other channels. The authors do not reveal under what conditions those other channels received those funds or whether they complied with any conditions. The only thing which seems certain is that no one really knows exactly where the money went.

The refugees now stranded in Greece will find it interesting to read that 14.888 USD were spent per capita on their behalf. A family of four might come to the conclusion that 59.552 USD (14.888 x 4) would have provided them an excellent base for maintaining a decent living standard during their refugee status. In fact, they might conclude that it was a tremendous humanitarian effort.

Which had been the original idea of the 803 MUSD.


  1. Actually my understanding is that Greece as a state got only something less than 100 eurMil. The rest of the money (i.e. the great sums) we distributed directly to NGOs which wasted them.

    Why would Grece be held responsible for NGO performance which by definition have nothing to do with Greece?

    1. As I pointed out, the Greek state directly received 184 MUSD out of the 803 MUSD. You will find details about the distribution of the remainder in the linked article.

    2. Yes but you claim that this is the most expensive humanitarian operation in history and we all know that Merkel gave Turkey 3 Billion euros for the same. So how come Greece receiving 0.160 Billion euros (depending on the dollar to euro conversion) vs. Turkey 3 Billion euros makes Greece a.) the most expensive deal in history and b.) Greece a target for waste acording to the tone of your article?

      Greece is receiving peanuts (an almost negligible European support) and you people have the guts to speak of waste?

      I hope you now understand what Greeks feel about the euroclowns. Not only you are hypocrites but also liars spreading false rumor and innuendo. All good reasons for an easy death penalty IMHO.

    3. If you would only follow the link to the article before shooting from the hip. It would make your life more pleasant, I assure you. The article was not written by some Euroclowns, as you call them. Instead, it comes from Refugees Deeply which describe themselves as follows:

      "Refugees Deeply is an independent digital media project dedicated to covering the Refugee crisis. Our team, a mix of journalists and technologists, aims to provide readers and experts with the kind of in-depth information that no other media outlet is able to offer. We hope this, in turn, will lead to deeper understanding, greater clarity and more sustained public engagement on this this critical – and quintessentially human – issue."

      In case you overlooked it, Greece has received - according to the article - 803 MUSD and not the 0,160 BEUR you mention. Again, read the article and you will increase your knowledge.

      Your increased knowledge will then enable you to understand how they calculate the "most expensive humanitarian effort". They cite Haiti which received 3,5 BUSD but for 3 million people and over longer periods. The same would apply to the Turkey aid. In the case of Greece, it was - they say - 803 MUSD für about 60.000 people who were stranded there. And that for 2 years.

      I once saw a refugee camp outside Thessaloniki. That was as close to a humanitarian crime as one can get. When thinking that this happened at a time when the most expensive humanitarian effort was under way, most people who think rationally will come to the same conclusion.

      Greece is a country which had a construction boom for 3 decades, which managed to stage phenomenal Olympic Games during this time. No one can tell me that Greece would not be able to construct decent temporary housing for about 60.000 refugees, particularly when someone else pays for it. If it still doesn't happen, it's either a case to total governmental incompetence or lack of intent, or both.

    4. Klaus:

      Your facts are wrong. Let me help you to see how:

      1. Refugees Deeply is another NGO and NGOs are eurofabrications which receive all their monetary support from Brussels for their existence. Therefore by definition NGOs can not bite the hand that feeds them. They can never say that Brussels is at fault since they depend on Brussels for their funding and it's always the other country.

      2. Greece has received peanuts. I remember explicitly when the funding for the refugee crisis was appropriated by Brussels that very little funds should go through Greece and the majority of funds through NGOs because a). Brussels wanted to humiliate Greece one more time and b.) Brusells counted on the obedient and funding depended NGOs to do its bidding.

      3. The total refugees in Greece are not 60000 only rather a number in excess of 100000. How much exactly no one knows; let's say a number close to 150000.

      4. I am sure Greece could - if it wanted and had the money to do it - do a better job in sheltering refugees (actually 80% economic migrants rather than refugees) but it would be shooting herself in the foot if it did just that. Because the signal would go out to the world that Greece was an efficient absorber of economic migrant flows which message would have induced even more migrant flows through its territory. So this is one of these cases where doing less is actually better for Greece.

      5. Finally Greece has no incentive to do more because the majority of said funds is distributed by mechanisms outside the Greek state. So the regular argument that providing for the economic migrants in sheltering them is a contributor to increased GDP falls flat in its face here because it costs more to shelter them than the money the official state receives for the job. And this is something that Greece has not decided but rather the euroclowns decided for Greece.

    5. Mr. Kastner,

      I read some of the article but i can't help but agree with 12:43 PM.

      The simple chart on the left of the article clearly shows the GR government received 188m euro in 2 years. The rest went to various organizations.

      That the money was spent in Greece, is a fact, but saying that it was wasted in Greece, insinuates that it was the Greeks wasting the funds. That is the impression one gets.

      Of course reading through you understand that many organizations are to blame.

      Is it the Greek governments authority to organize how these organization use these funds given directly to them? Can i tell you how to use your money when you receive it from a 3rd party?

      And another question is why do they allocate the total fund spent to those left living in Greece. For the other 800 million or 1 million + refugees who passed through Greece didn't have a cost tag?

      From my personal experience as i work near two camps and give things to them, the conditions have improved greatly. As i have stated in the past, one can consider the living conditions better than many poor Greeks living in slums.


    6. I can only ask the readers to read what I link and what I write myself. If readers 'interpret' what I write instead of reading it, I can't help it. I don't know how much more clearly I could have stated that only 184 MUSD out of the 803 MUSD went directly to the Greek government and the remainder through other channels. But the task for coordinate foreign aid for refugees rests always with a government. Otherwise you get what Greece seems to have gotten - various organizations spending money in various ways and a bad result in the end.

    7. As a German, I may not completely grasp how evil the Europe is. Or how bad it got due to the influence of us Germans on matters. But:

      Refugees Deeply is another NGO and NGOs are eurofabrications which receive all their monetary support from Brussels for their existence.

      And they disguise a European NGO via a start up in the US that appears to surely be for profit one way or another?

      News Deeply

      News Deeply is an online journalism and technology company, based in New York City, specializing in single-issue news websites. Its flagship site, Syria Deeply, was by Lara Setrakian and Azeo Fables in 2012 to cover the Syrian Civil War. The company operates four other sites with similar single-issue formats: Ebola Deeply, Water Deeply, Arctic Deeply, and Refugees Deeply.

      The site in any case is hosted by and somehow connected to Amazon Technolgogies. Maybe they invested? Check whois databases yourself.

  2. Well it was not lost in translation since it was coordinated between commissioner Avramopoulos and this great humanitarian Mouzalas.

  3. Klaus:

    Letme remind you of the facts so that you stop contradicting yourself by using dubious sources.

    1. On March 2016 the European commissioner for humanitarian aid pledged that €700m (£544m) would be spent over three years on helping refugees.

    2. The plan meant the EU would be able to deliver emergency aid much faster than before, including food, emergency healthcare, shelter and clean water and for that to happen the plan would bypass the Greek state.

    3. The EU commissioner at the time said the money would go “wherever the needs are greatest”, although no specific sum has been allocated for Greece. The UN and NGOs, such as the Red Cross, will be invited to apply for funds and manage aid projects in countries dealing with the refugee crisis. In other words the money will be destributed primarily by channels other than Greece.

    4.The funds would not be available immediately, as EU member states and the European parliament must sign off on the money. But if agreed, €300m will be available in 2016, with two instalments of €200m to follow in 2017 and 2018 – a sign EU authorities are not expecting refugee numbers to abate anytime soon. The point here is that we are in early 2017 and the money claimed by your dubious sitation is a multiple (more than twice) the official money pledged so right there we have an issue of credibility with your numbers.

    4. The EU has signed a €3bn aid deal with Turkey to help it shelter refugees, in return for Ankara preventing them travelling on to Europe. In ther words in the Turkey case the state receives a whopping sum and in Greece's case just peanuts because the EU commission decided to distribute the money through alternative channels rather than Greece which it did not happen in Turkey's case. So the Turkish state is good for the job and gets 4.5 times more money and the Greek state is not good for the job and gets a diversion of funds through alternative channels.

    1. You might want to take this up with Refugees Deeply because their numbers are quite different from yours.

  4. Klaus:

    This obscure group you chose to quote means nothing to me. It carries no authority whatsoever and is totally out of formal chanels.

    The real question is why did you chose to quote them in order to compalin about Greece again? What is your problem? Do you have a problem with the Greek government or some sort of racist obcession with the Greeks in general? What sort of phychological problem do you carry around by constantly insinuating that Greeks always screw up and in fact they don't miss an opportunity to do so? What is this? Some sort of sick remnant of the austrohungarian toilet your country used to live in?

    1. I have no idea how obscure this group is. I am not familiar with it. All I can say is: The Guardian picked up the entire article thereby lending it credibility and the Ekathimerini also reported on it without any dissenting opinion.

      Regarding my complaints about Greece which you perceive. A therapist would ask you: Why do you perceive a complaint? Don't you see that he is really complaining about the EU for dealing irresponsibly with tax payers' money and not about Greece? Is there any part of his article you can point to where he complains about Greece, where he expresses a racist obsession with the Greeks in general? If not, why do you perceive it as such? Why do you immediately resort to devaluing other people? Are you aware that constant devaluing others is a symptom of a narcissistic personality disorder? Healthy people say: "Look, Kastner has an opinion which I think is totally wrong. Let's deal with it". Less than healthy people say: "Who the hell is Kastner to always think that he is smarter than all the others?"

      Do you understand the difference?

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    2. Mr. Kastner,

      Can you block this troll please.


  6. Klaus:

    A closer look at the Eurozone shows imbalances building up from the very beginning—with money rushing into the periphery countries in the misguided belief that eliminating exchange rate risk had somehow eliminated all risk.

    This illustrates one of the key flaws in the construction of the Eurozone: It was based on the belief that if only government didn’t mess things up—if it kept deficits below 3% of GDP, debt below 60% of GDP, and inflation below 2% per annum—the market would ensure growth and stability. Those numbers, and the underlying ideas, had no basis in either theory or evidence. Ireland and Spain, two of the worst afflicted countries, actually had surpluses before the crisis. The crisis caused their deficits and debt, not the other way around.

    The hope was that fiscal and monetary discipline would result in convergence, enabling the single-currency system to work even better. Instead, there has been divergence, with the rich countries getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and within countries, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. But it was the very structure of the Eurozone that predictably led to this. The single market, for instance, made it easy for money to leave the banks of the weaker countries, forcing these banks to contract lending, weakening the weak further.

    Economists assessing the prospects of a single currency arrangement some quarter century ago emphasized the importance of sufficient labor mobility and an adequately large common budget to buffer against shocks as well as sufficient economic similarity among the countries. But the euro took away two of the critical instruments for adjustment—the exchange and interest rates—and didn’t put anything in their place. There was no common deposit insurance, no common way of resolving problems in the banking sector, and no common unemployment insurance scheme.

    Equally important, these early discussions ignored the importance of intellectual convergence: There is a huge gap in perceptions of what makes for good policies, especially between Germany and much of the rest of Europe. These differences are longstanding. Thus, the austerity policy—which Germany thought should have brought a quick return to growth—has failed miserably in virtually every country in which it has been tried. The consequences were predictable, and predicted by most serious economists around the world. So too, many of the particular structural reforms have actually weakened the countries on which they have been imposed, lowering growth and increasing their trade deficits.

    So please get off this bandwagon that Greece and Greeks are responsible for their own failure because all evidence points to the exact opposite. The eurozone is failing miserably not Greece or the Greek people. What you are asking us to do in response to the crisis makes absolutely no sense to me. It only makes you(the austerity crowd) look better because you are responsible for the mess. And by you I mean the conservative part of Europe with its roots to monarchies and absolutism. You can't talk to the Greeks like you do because we are inherently free people; free of despotism and free of blind obedience for the benefit of the rulers. We don't like rulers in Greece; we are against ruling classes. O.k.?

  7. 4. Envy: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing or degrading somebody else.
    Strange you should mention NPD.
    I have always admired the writings of Nikos Dimou, with his descriptions of Greek culture and values. I can recognize a lot of it from my daily life, also in this blog. It has, in some ways, given me an uncomfortable feeling.
    Recently I read (in another context) Hotchkiss's definition of Narcissistic-Personal-Disorder, as described in her "Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism". I realized why I was feeling disturbed when Dimou describes his Greek persons.
    Fortunately, I also meet Greek people with another mindset.

    1. So Trump is a narcissist because Berlin says so?

      Who gave Berlin the right to opine on the qualities of people?

      Oh let me see; I think I get now of how it works.

      If one of Berlin's guys like Rutte (btw there is an liquid additive with this name available in the US to unplug your toilet and clogged drains) says something then Berlin immediately approves and the otherwise disgusting Rutte is an outstanding fellow because he is one of Berlin's boys. He is the best of what humanity has to offer so something close to perfection.

      On the other hand if an opponent of Berlin says something then he is a narcissist and a bad guy.

      Under such logic I am more than sure that Schauble is as holy as the Pope and certainly deserves a sainthood which undoubtly Berlin will bestow upon him on occasion of causing the death of the rest of Europe.

  8. If there is one thing that i have learnt after time observing this blog, is that no matter what data you provide, you can't beat the author's preconceptions, who will promptly forget the very next day, whatever doesn't adhere to his beliefs.

    This is my last post in this blog, with things i have already posted before:

    1) March 2016, greek parliament ministry report: The direct and indirect cost of the refugee crisis up until to Jan 2016, amounts to 1,6 bn euro. Stournaras predicts at least 600 mln for 2016:

    2) I have posted it before, but once can easily google it in english, so i shall not bother to find it myself. The EU had approved about 600 mln euros for Greece for the period 2015-2020, out of which, the overwhelming majority would be given NOT to the greek goverment, but to various international NGOs, that operate to Greece.

    At this point, Greece has been paying the crisis overwhelmingly out of its own pocket. Greece, has probably spent more than what has received in goverment coffers, just for the constant land and sea patrols, fuel and wear and tear of equipment.

    This is a new hot spot inaugurated yesterday:

    Meanwhile, greek earthquake victims that lost their homes, live here:

    If you want to find the money, ask the NGOs, that the EU gave it to, since they didn't want to "risk" giving the money to the EU. Or better yet, ask about your hypocrisy of sending money, in order to transfer the problem to the weakest link, while keeping clean your "humanitarian" conscience.

    Auf wiedersehen.

    1. You said:

      "If you want to find the money, ask the NGOs, that the EU gave it to, since they didn't want to "risk" giving the money to the EU."

      I think you meant to say:

      "If you want to find the money, ask the NGOs, that the EU gave it to, since they didn't want to "risk" giving the money to Greece."

      It would make more sense this way.

    2. This is one of the issues, why I have to read it again. I do have to get a complete chronology on matters.

      Were they better or more efficient to get their share out of the Greek EU pots then Greek, no matter if NGO or goverment itself? Or is it as "the now gone" (?) seems to indicate that the EU did not give that to the Greek but other European NGO's only to start with? Why would it do such a thing?

  9. Great article, although I have to read it again more carefully. Too many matters that trigger memories that may have distracted me on the way. Beyond my current focus, that may have at one point interfered. But thanks Klaus.

  10. At its March 5 board meeting, Deutsche Bank (DB) decided to raise 8 billion euros ($8.5 billion) of fresh capital by issuing 687.5 million new shares on March 21, pricing them at a 39 percent discount from the shares’ March 3 closing price of 19.14 euros. The stock then fell another 6 percent on Monday following the news. Separately, Germany’s largest financial institution decided to integrate its Postbank unit into its retail banking operations after failing to secure a reasonable price. Additionally, DB will lay off staff to attempt to recover a sustainable trajectory. Not only is this bad news for shareholders, but also it is an indication that DB is struggling with restructuring, and by extension, with efforts to contain a liquidity crisis. DB also is selling a minority stake in its asset management business as well as other assets in its investment banking business, which combined are anticipated to yield an additional 2 billion euros.

    This is a bad sign for Germany and the European economy. Deutsche Bank is not only Germany’s biggest bank and one of the world’s 30 systemically important banks, it also plays an important political role in Germany and the EU. While technically it is a private bank, Deutsche Bank is tied to the government informally, and formally to most major German corporations. Those that rely on exports or shipping already are experiencing financial strains.

    DB’s fate will be shared by all of Germany. In the 1990s, Germany’s top lender began operating more like a typical investment bank, looking to take advantage of financial globalization. Deutsche Bank prioritized short-term gains and invested in risky assets, like any other bank. The 2008 crisis has meant not just financial losses for the bank, but also that it was delegitimized and faced investigations, legal troubles and potential fines to be paid in coming years, seriously weakening its position.
    The latest news only confirms the bank is in a difficult position and at risk of potential crisis with no signs of improving soon. This shows that people don’t have confidence in DB if the bank must cut its share price that much to convince people to buy. If DB cannot steer itself out of this crisis, it will have huge implications for Germany’s banking sector and Europe’s largest economy. Germany already is struggling to limit the extent to which the European Union is devolving. A German financial crisis will have an enormous effect on the economic health of the Continent.